April 25, 2014

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Ohio State baseball team dropped a 4-3 decision at Purdue on Kyle Wood’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning Friday night at Alexander Field. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 23-19 on the year, 4-9 in the Big Ten, while the Boilermakers move to 11-27, 5-8 in conference play.

Ohio State took the lead off Purdue starter Jordan Minch in the top of the second. With one down, Ryan Leffel walked before an infield single by Troy Montgomery put runners on first and second. Josh Dezse followed with a two-run double to left-center to score Leffel and Montgomery for the 2-0 lead. After Craig Nennig flew out to center for the second out of the inning, Connor Sabanosh lined a two-run single back up the middle to plate Dezse to push the Buckeye lead to 3-0.

Ohio State starter Tanner Tully retired the first 12 Boilermakers he faced before running into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Wood and Kyle Johnson led off the inning with singles before a sacrifice bunt by Ted Snidanko moved the runners up to second and third with on down. Conner Hudnall followed with a sacrifice fly to left to plate Wood and get Purdue on the board. Jeff Evak then launched a fly ball that got up into the breeze and caromed off the wall in right-center for a two-run inside-the-park home run to knot the game at 3-3 after five innings.

Things stayed quiet until the top of the ninth, when the Buckeyes threatened again off Minch. Pat Porter reached on a leadoff infield single and stole second on a third strike to Leffel but the throw down by Purdue catcher Sean McHugh got into center, allowing Porter to advance to third. However, Minch bounced back to strike out Montgomery looking for the second out of the inning. After an intentional walk to Dezse put Buckeyes at the corners with two down, Minch struck out Nennig to keep it a 3-3 game.

The Boilermakers almost won in in the bottom of the frame off Travis Lakins, who came on to relieve Tully after seven strong innings. McHugh lined a single up the middle to lead off the inning before a fielder’s choice where the Buckeyes were unable to get an out on a sacrifice bunt by Wood put runners on first and second and nobody out. A sacrifice bunt by Johnson moved both runners up before Lakins intentionally walked Snidanko to load the bases for Hudnall. Lakins got the Purdue designated hitter to fly out to shallow left for the second out of the inning before retiring Evak on a great play on a squeeze bunt attempt to send the game to extras.

Ohio State got the first two on in the top of the 10th against Purdue reliever Matt Gibbs when Sabanosh walked and Nick Sergakis was hit by a pitch. After Gibbs struck out Ronnie Dawson for the first out of the inning, Purdue went to Mike Lutz out of the bullpen. McHugh then gunned down pinch-runner Jake Brobst trying to advance to third on a wild pitch before Troy Kuhn singled to right to put Buckeyes on the corners with two down. However, Porter lined out to left on a 3-0 pitch to keep the game knotted at 3-3.

The Boilermakers rallied against Lakins with two down in the bottom of the inning. Cody Strong reached on a single to center and tried to score when McHugh plugged the gap in right-center with a line drive but the Buckeyes cut down Strong at the plate on a perfect relay throw from Porter in right to Sergakis before Aaron Gretz put the tag on the Purdue second baseman to end the inning.

After a scoreless 11th and 12th, Strong doubled to left-center to lead off the 13th before an intentional walk to McHugh set up the game-winning single through the left side by Wood.

Neither starter factored in the decision despite pitching quality outings. Tully allowed three earned runs on four hits over 7.0 innings while Minch gave up three earned on seven hits over 9.0 frames.

Lakins suffered the tough-luck loss, allowing one run while striking out a career-high six in 5.0 innings while Lutz picked up the win with 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Sergakis and Dezse each had two hits for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes and Boilermakers meet in the middle game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

– Dezse picked up his eighth multi-hit game of the season and 40th of his career.
– Sergakis notched his ninth mult-hit contest of the season.
– Lakins set a career high with six strikeouts.
– The walk-off loss was the Buckeyes fourth walk-off defeat in Big Ten play and fifth loss when the opponent scored the game-winning run in its final at-bat.
– Nennig was back at shortstop after missing the last 20 games with an injury. Sergakis made his first start at second base after starting the previous 20 at short.
– Kuhn made his eighth-career start at third base and first since May 4 of last year after starting the first 41 contests at second base this season.
– Tully has now allowed just four walks in 64.1 innings pitched this season and has not allowed a free pass in the last 27.2 innings, dating back to the second frame of his start April 5 at Nebraska.